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RA Balance Changes for March 2019 #16244

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@Orb370
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Orb370 commented Feb 26, 2019

Followup on #15907. With the rather recent of addition of #16112, and the still unforeseen consequences on balance, I've gone with a more conservative set of changes. This set of changes is a cut down version of the changes that have been tested thoroughly on the playtest.

The goal of these changes is to give Allies tools for breaking through defensive positions, while also nerfing some overperforming allied assets. Additionally, there are several speed tweaks to allow easier usage of utility units.

Changes:

Hind Cost: 1350 -> 1500

Hinds overperform at their current price point. Their ability to snipe out rocket soldiers, and therefore their counter, allows a snowballing effect that can be difficult to stop. However, most players like this interaction as a mechanic, due to the skill and precision involved. Therefore, a small price increase should nudge them to be a little less expendable/easy to mass.

Artillery:
Projectile Speed: 204 -> 170
Inaccuracy: 1c938 -> 1c138
Custom Falloff: 100, 55, 20, 5
Damage vs None: 90 -> 60

The Artillery changes have been adjusted based on feedback since #15907. The accuracy increase has been reduced and the damage model has been simplified. Artillery is capable of punching through defensive lines now if needed, which is something Allies have struggled with. Additionally, its potency vs infantry has been reduced, which has long been a complaint of players.

Chronosphere Duration: 500 -> 400

A minor buff to this underutilized superweapon. A shorter shift time allows less time for your chrono'd units to get caught, and therefore killed, making Chronosphere use a less risky endeavor. Most uses of the Chronosphere (harassment, crushing, tech sniping) can be done in less than 400.

Medic and Mechanic Speed Change: 56 -> 50

A minor reduction in speed encourages these utility units to stay in the back of your army.

Camo Pillbox Cost: 700 -> 750

Feedback since #15907 has shown I was a little too hasty to nerf Camo Pillboxes. #15866 has fixed several frustrating bugs with the defense, and combined with artillery changes has made them less of a problem. However, 100 cost for invisibility is still too cheap (Normal Pillboxes cost 600). At 750, Camo's will cost 150 more than pillboxes, which is a more fair trade off.

Mobile Radar Jammer:
Cost: 1100 -> 1000
Speed: 99 -> 85

MRJ's have always been an underutilized unit. A slight cost decrease should encourage more use. This change is also an attempt to balance out the buffs to the mammoth tank resulting from #16112.

Their speed has also been adjusted to match Medium Tanks, which should help prevent them from suiciding into enemy armies.

Engineer:
Cost: 500 -> 400
CaptureDelay: 125-> 200

#15661 prompted a long look by the community to figure out how to make it work in competitive. A cost decrease was necessary due to the move from reusable to consumable. A moderate capture delay of 8 seconds allows some time for counter play, but is still short enough to cap if there are no enemy units nearby.

MIG: Inaccuracy: 512 -> 316

There were a lot of tests this playtest to figure out how to buff Migs, but ultimately attempts proved to make them too powerful. Regardless, it was discovered Migs deal inconsistent damage. An accuracy increase should help make their use more consistent.

DOG: Vision 5c- > 5c512

Dogs are most often used due to their higher vision than rifles (4c vs 5c) in the opening stages of a match. However, the vision advantage is difficult to use due to the way openRA handles vision, resulting in wonky plays such as moving only in cardinal directions (N/S/E/W). By giving them an additional half cell vision, this widens the vision advantage, making their use more consistent. An additional benefit is it's easier to activate their new running attack.

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GraionDilach commented Feb 26, 2019

Can you take care of #16242 as part of this?

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Should be ok upstream. The only thing that should be noted is that engineers will now cost $400 in both expendable and reusable modes, as there is no easy way to split this. Cost decrease is considered not much of an impact though.

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pchote commented Feb 26, 2019

Can you take care of #16242 as part of this?

This will need to wait for Next + 1. It's far to late to PR, test, and get ingame feedback for this on the timescale of the final release.

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matjaeck commented Feb 26, 2019

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matjaeck commented Feb 26, 2019

Medic and Mechanic Speed Change: 56 -> 50

Mobile Radar Jammer:
Speed: 99 -> 85

As raised in #15907 (comment), the problem that you are trying to solve with this does not result from their movement speed but the flawed attack and attack move behavior of these units (see #5507 and the potential duplicates #6624 and #14084). I would prefer it a lot instead of introducing workarounds if we tried to fix the attack/attack-move behavior of these units for Next + 1.

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Smittytron commented Feb 26, 2019

Medic and Mechanic Speed Change: 56 -> 50

Mobile Radar Jammer:
Speed: 99 -> 85

As raised in #15907 (comment), the problem that you are trying to solve with this does not result from their movement speed but the flawed attack and attack move behavior of these units (see #5507 and the potential duplicates #6624 and #14084). I would prefer it a lot instead of introducing workarounds if we tried to fix the attack/attack-move behavior of these units for Next + 1.

That argument might have weight on the Medic and Mechanic as they technically have weapons that target their own units. But I have to agree with Orb on the MRJ change. The MRJ can be thought of as a 'buff aura' unit that is intended to be left in the heart of your army. It only makes sense for it to have the same movement speed as the Allied main battle tank.

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matjaeck commented Feb 26, 2019

The MRJ can be thought of as a 'buff aura' unit that is intended to be left in the heart of your army.

I can think of other usecases that benefit from higher movement speed:

  • Sneaking the unit in range of the enemy radar to jam it
  • Protect light tanks or helicopters from missiles

My objection was mainly aimed at units that target allied units and need improved behavior though. We should consider to nerf MGG too if we nerf the MRJ (same speed as MRJ currently).

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netnazgul commented Feb 26, 2019

MRJ is not nerfed by getting its speed reduced, it's actually buffed because it gets killed way less likely this way, same for medic and mechanic in this PR.

Speedy support units like medic/mechanic/mrj/mgg can only benefit from their higher than average army speed when they are microed explicitly, but given the general army disposition and size this is not physically possible. I also don't see any easy way to "fix" the attack move behaviour for these. In any case proposed changes do improve the gameplay now, and even if there is a better solution presented later, we can always get the speed back.

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Orb370 commented Feb 27, 2019

I think it'd be perfectly fine to extend the MRJ speed reduction to MGG. I don't think any testing would be necessary.

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AMHOL commented Feb 27, 2019

Medic and Mechanic Speed Change: 56 -> 50

Mobile Radar Jammer:
Speed: 99 -> 85

As raised in #15907 (comment), the problem that you are trying to solve with this does not result from their movement speed but the flawed attack and attack move behavior of these units (see #5507 and the potential duplicates #6624 and #14084). I would prefer it a lot instead of introducing workarounds if we tried to fix the attack/attack-move behavior of these units for Next + 1.

That argument might have weight on the Medic and Mechanic as they technically have weapons that target their own units. But I have to agree with Orb on the MRJ change. The MRJ can be thought of as a 'buff aura' unit that is intended to be left in the heart of your army. It only makes sense for it to have the same movement speed as the Allied main battle tank.

A possible solution would be to change a-move behaviour of support units (possibly units with no weapon or that target ally units) so that they instead move to their nearest ally in the direction of the order and issue a guard command on them?

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matjaeck commented Feb 27, 2019

@AMHOL See my proposal in #5507 (comment) (can't comment on the technical implementation).

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You need to squash all your commits into one, also it would have been a bit better if it was coming in from a branch other than "bleed". I will follow up on this later in Discord if you need help with it.

Warhead@1Dam: SpreadDamage
Falloff: 100, 55, 20, 5
Versus:
None: 60

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netnazgul Feb 28, 2019

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Technically, Versus: None: 60 is better moved to ^Artillery and removed from any subsequent inheritance (except DepthCharge where it needs to be re-added as 90) to streamline it; there are 4 weapons that use ^Artillery - 155mm, 8inch, Grenade and DepthCharge, 3 of them now have None: 60.

Actually, Light and Heavy are the same for 8inch as they are for the base weapon, same for Heavy in Grenade.

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I'd prefer to keep things the way they are for this PR and release. We're already running on a much tighter timescale than I like, and it would be dangerous to introduce last minute refactorings across multiple weapons with no testing.

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netnazgul Mar 1, 2019

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Agreed. I may look into it later though if needed, am I right to assume that the preference is to have as less modifications over inherited options as possible?

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Correct.

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matjaeck commented Feb 28, 2019

See #16151 (comment) for how to squash commits when using the git command line.

@pchote pchote added this to the Next Release milestone Feb 28, 2019

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Not convinced but let's get this over with. There is not really a choice anyway considering how many players in the community appear to support these changes.

@pchote pchote force-pushed the Orb370:bleed branch from b4ab686 to 66d214f Mar 1, 2019

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Squashed the fixup and 👍

This PR drops the most controversial changes from the first PR/discussion, and has had a lot of testing (likewise setting a new record for RA competitive community playtest engagement) including a publicly streamed tournament that produced a number of entertaining matches. My biggest remaining worry, the visuals of the artillery accuracy, seem reasonable now.

@pchote pchote added the PR: Needs +2 label Mar 1, 2019

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pchote commented Mar 1, 2019

The current plan is to push one final playtest this weekend to start off the RAGL, and I would prefer to get that out of the way tomorrow. This sets a deadline for any further review comments.

@reaperrr reaperrr merged commit cbbafd0 into OpenRA:bleed Mar 2, 2019

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